Oh, Steam. You will be the death of me, I already know it.
Now, I realize that Poker Night 2 was released for both the PSN and the XBLA as well as Steam, but honestly, I didn't think twice about picking up for new, sweet laptop. Mainly because I have way to many games to play on my PS3 currently, and on my Xbox ... well, that wasn't even an option. On my laptop, though, I have already become a Steam-addict. So when I was browsing the Steam store, that I seem to do daily now, I knew I had to have Poker Night 2 on the new hotness.
I've never really been a huge fan of card game simulation games, even poker games. Don't get me wrong though, I really enjoy having the guys over for the occasional poker night, but that is more for the social aspect of it all than it is the game itself, or the stakes involved. When I go to Vegas, I'll sit down at a game table occasionally, especially if someone else with me wants to, but playing against a dealer for the sheer aspect of trying to win money isn't as appealing to me as it might be for others,
In Poker Night 2, the game is more than just about winning or losing. The social aspect is alive and well, despite the fact it's not a multiplayer or online game. You see, the cast of characters that join you for each tournament you participate in make you feel like you're just hanging out with your buddies, talking, shooting the breeze, etc. Oh, and the occasional jokes and put-downs, like any good gathering of friends should be.
You assume the position as The Player, and you are joined at the table by Ash Williams (The Evil Dead), Brock Samson (The Venture Bros.), Sam (Sam & Max) and of course Claptrap (Borderlands). The dealer is none other than GLaDOS from the portal series, which aside from the banter going on from the characters at the table, is the most charming aspect of the gaming experience. She isn't just the dealer, but is also the special color commentator, adding her thoughts, opinions and quips to each hand that is dealt.
The game itself is pretty straight forward. You choose from Texas hold'em or Omaha hold'em (if you want to be different, I suppose), and you start out with the same amount of money each time. The goal? To eliminate all your competitors and win the tournament. Simple and straight forward. There are challenges to accomplish as you play, and unlockables to obtain (cards, chips and tables) that open up different conversation possibilities.
Overall, it's a fun poker game, if only because of the experience, not necessarily the game. Too bad it didn't feel this good to lose money like this while gambling in Vegas.
Well, after a week long adventure through the Zelda universe, exploring every nook and cranny of the franchise and and the amazing games that it's made up of, I can honestly say that I had no idea where to go from there as far playing a game today. I've said it before many times, and I will keep saying it all year most likely, that I don't usually plan too far ahead, but I have a general idea for the most part.
And then something like Candy Crush Saga comes along and shakes the whole foundation of any resemblance of a plan I may have had.
Candy Crush Saga. Where do I even begin?
Well, let me start off by saying that I usually don't get caught up in internet-hyped mobile games. Well, except for Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Space, Angry Birds Star Wars, Cut The Rope, Tiny Wings, Plague Inc, and of course Ridiculous Fishing. Aside from those (and probably a lot of others that I can't think of off the top of my head), I hate mobile gaming. And I hate when the internet hypes up mobile games.
But then, I browse the store, see a game like Candy Crush Saga is free, remember that people all over the internet and podcasts insist it's the most addicting thing ever - and well, we set off on a journey. Destination: The Noyse Blog.
This game is stupid addictive. It's a matching game, a lot like Bejeweled, with individual levels with certain goals and different game play mechanics in each. There is a storyline too, I think, but honestly I didn't even pay attention to it. I just wanted more and more puzzles. Oh, and it has my number one weakness in games - three star goals. If there is a game that ranks your performance of each level with a star-system, consider me all in.
So I flew through the entire first area of levels, nabbing three stars in each along the way. The couple of levels that I didn't three star the first time, I forced myself to replay them until I got them. I hate advancing to the next level knowing I left the previous one "unfinished." The perfectionist, OCD gamer in me refuses to accept mediocrity. On twitter, I had to brag about it a little bit, but was quickly put in my place when I was told that once the levels start getting hard, that I would slow down.
Well, know one told me why I would slow down. Sure the levels got much harder, but I kept plugging away. Then I realized why I would have to slow down. After you fail enough times, apparently there are "lives" that you use to keep playing. Once you run out of lives, you have to stop playing and let the lives "recharge." That, or you can buy more lives, for those who can't bother to wait.
And that my friends is why this game is free. It solely revolves around being funded and supported through micro-transactions. Don't get me wrong, I have no problems with that business model, as long as the developers don't try to deceive the player or make is necessary to play what was otherwise thought to be a free game. With Candy Crush, you can play as much as you want for free, no payment needed at all, ever. But if you suck at it, you better either learn to wait, get better at it - or pull out your wallet.
I waited. I played again, plowed through a bunch more levels, failed a lot at one particular level - and now I wait again. Just waiting. Like a crackhead waiting for his next hit. I've tried to keep myself occupied with other things, but I end up checking back with game to see if I can play again.
Oh Candy Crush Saga. You got me. You got me good.
But you aren't getting a dime from me.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The epitome of a Zelda game, and the first game in the franchise's fictional timeline. It was the last new Zelda game to be released, and critically acclaimed to be one the best ever, receiving perfect review scores from many different video game news outlets.
Obviously, this was going to be the last Zelda game I played in my week of Zelda, as I had that planned from day one. But that's not because of how great it is, how new it is or how gorgeous it is. No, I chose to play it because it is the only Zelda game I never finished, and it is the first game in my "pile of shame," otherwise known as the stack of games I own that I haven't played or beaten yet.
That's right. Skyward Sword might be the only Zelda game I've yet to beat. And honestly, not for any particular reason other than I just never did. Before the game came out, I was more excited about it than possibly any game that has ever been released that I was excited about before. It came out a day or two before my birthday, so I bought it with the understanding that this was the only birthday present I needed or wanted.
When I started playing it, I fell in love immediately, It is a beautiful game, the game play mechanics are fantastic with the Wii Motion+, and the story is unbelievable. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the game that would ever keep me from wanting to finish it.
Yet, I put the game down, after playing it only a couple different times, and never returned to it. Never. Until today, that is.
Maybe it was because I knew this was the swan song for the Wii, a very important console to me in my gaming history. Maybe I was already mentally and emotionally moved on to the Wii U, causing me to subconsciously dismiss any and all Wii games. Maybe it was because of the impending holiday season, and the hustle and bustle of it all kept me from spending the amount of time needed to keep me engaged, and because it is so story-heavy, it was almost impossible to just pick up casually and play. You need to stay engaged in the story to fully appreciate it's awesomeness, and unfortunately, I lost that connection.
I realized this when I tried to fire it back up today after over a year away from the game. I had no idea where I was in the story, what was going on, or why I should care about what I was doing. Even the few cut scenes I came across didn't help refresh my memory. This was disappointing, as I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have, just because of how disengaged I was in the story. I know it's a great story, but without context, it's impossible to get behind.
And this is why I think people can't get into Zelda games as I think they should be able to. All the other Zelda games, I have beaten (some several times), and because of that, I have lots of context for the storyline. I also have played so many of the Zelda games and am quite familiar with the overall storyline as well, which helps with whatever game I pick up to play in the series. For someone new to the series, however, I honestly understand now how intimidating it would be to jump into the series fresh, or even worse after a very long hiatus from it.
I understand, all you non-Zelda gamers. I understand.
Today, I really struggled with which Zelda game I was going to play. I knew all along I wanted to play a handheld Zelda game in the series, but which one specifically is what I had trouble with. There has been seven original handheld titles, all of which played a certain role in advancing the franchise along and reaching out to the on-the-go gaming market.
So after much deliberation, I decided upon the Phantom Hourglass game, which was the first of two Zelda games on the Nintendo DS. The DS is Nintendo's most successful handheld console to date, and one of the gaming industry's biggest success stories. A lot of its success can be attributed to the Japanese market, where being on the move at all times is common place in the land of the rising sun. The DS nailed that market perfectly, and thanks to a couple different upgraded versions to the system, it was able to become king of the handhelds.
It was only a matter of time before one of Nintendo's most successful gaming franchise would make its way to juggernaut handheld system, and when it did, we were blessed with Phantom Hourglass. Being released after Twilight Princess, it was very clear that Nintendo had no intention of keeping just one version of Link and the storyline running throughout the series, as Phantom Hourglass returned to the cartoonish and cell-shaded style that we first discovered in Wind Waker, and continued the storyline that the game had put in place. This of course was in drastic contrast to the Twilight Princess style and story, further pushing the idea that the Zelda universe and timeline isn't exactly linear.
I bought this game for my oldest son back in the day when it was released, as we had gotten him a DS for his birthday before hand, thinking he would enjoy it. Despite my best efforts at the time, and introducing him to several different games of all styles and genres, I could never get him interested in playing the DS. Eventually, my youngest boy got his hands on it and never let it go. He's definitely a gamer through and through.
When we got him Phantom Hourglass, however, I knew the game would be challenging, especially considering how difficult Twilight Princess was at times. To jump ahead of the potential of him quitting the game before he gave it a fair shake, I even bought him the strategy guide so that he could read along with it while playing, preventing him from every getting stuck on a puzzle.
Turns out, he couldn't care about that game or any Zelda game at all. He may have started it up and started it, just to make me happy, but I don't think he ever played much of it at all, much less cracked open the strategy guide. I ended up playing way more of the game then I ever thought I would back then, basically because I felt bad it was getting played - but also because it was a fine game.
I enjoyed it back then, and I enjoyed it again tonight. I really enjoyed it, and probably because I've just been dying to play a good handheld Zelda game since Ocarina of Time was re-released on the 3DS last year, and especially since Link to the Past 2 was announced to come out later this year. Combine that excitement with the Wind Waker remake that's also on its way, and its quite obvious why Phantom Hourglass clicked with me tonight.
Aside from the great story and fun, stylish graphics, the one thing I loved most about this game - and still do, possibly even more so - is the ability to write notes and draw markers on the game map itself, which is super helpful in figuring out puzzles and backtracking to already explored areas later in the game. The game introduces you to the concept of doing this, forces you to try it out, but then it backs off and lets you use it as you so choose. And believe me, with my short attention span and lack of a decent short-term memory, I use this function a lot. I actually started to wonder why more games haven't gone this route.
So maybe handheld gaming wasn't for my oldest boy. Maybe Zelda wasn't his thing. And maybe that is true for lots of gamers out there. I just wish more who agree with that would actually just give it a shot and find out firsthand. If you do decide to take that plunge, especially if you feel froggy enough to give Phantom Hourglass a shot, I have a strategy guide you can borrow. Oh, and you can copy my notes, too. Not like that didn't happen to me enough in school.
So, I already wrote about when I first got my Nintendo Wii for Christmas in 2006. Shortly after receiving it, I went out in search of a second Wiimote, which oddly enough were almost harder to locate than the Wii consoles themselves. On one particular trip out to find a second controller, I noticed a game sitting on the shelf that I didn't even know about.
You see, I had taken a gaming hiatus for a couple years, which again, I have talked about here on the blog. In those couple of years, I didn't play games, read about games or even pay attention to what games were even coming out. This dark period of my life caused me to not even realize a new Zelda game had been developed, and subsequently, released. Of course I am talking about The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the game that was originally in development as the GameCube's swan song, but ended up being released as a port for the Wii before the GameCube version even came out!
Anyway, when I saw this game, sitting there on the shelf, I picked it up immediately. Instead of coming home with a second controller, I came home with a game instead. That's kind of how this hobby works.
Shortly after getting the game, maybe a couple weeks or so, I ended up losing my job that I had for roughly five years or so. It was the first job I had out of high school, and that was the first time ever I had been an adult and been unemployed at the same time. Basically, I had no idea what to do with myself or my new found free time. Sure, I wanted to go out and join the workforce right away, make myself feel like I was contributing to the family and all that jazz - but let's be honest here. I had unemployment checks coming in and I knew rushing out and taking any old job wasn't something I wanted or needed to do at that time. So in between submitting applications and resumes for jobs that fit my skill set, I had a lot of time alone, at home, to play games.
And what was the one that game that I had that was ideal for single-player adventure time? Zelda: Twilight Princess, of course.
This game was surprisingly challenging back then, as I remember getting stuck on a few puzzles in the game. To get unstuck, I turned to the internet and found a little site called IGN that had a guide up to help me out. Turns out, they had more than just game guides, including tons of news and features about all aspects of the gaming industry. This is the moment that opened my eyes to video game journalism, and would eventually set me on a path to be where I am now, here, writing this blog.
Playing tonight, once again, brought back all these non-gaming specific memories of one of the best looking, most creative and highly thought of Zelda games in the series. I realized it was the first Zelda game to get a "T for Teen" rating because of the more mature theme and violence never before seen in the franchise. Clearly, this was a bold step for Nintendo, but one that was necessary to give the series a shot in the arm and revolutionize it. Transforming back and forth between the wolf is a fantastic game play mechanic, yet one that almost made it feel like it wasn't a Zelda game at some points. The Twilight realm was cool, and played on the concept of light and dark which is prevalent through the whole series.
For a lot of people, especially the new Wii owners when it was released, this was the first Zelda game they had ever played. While it is not exactly the most tried and true representation of the Legend of Zelda series, it is one that I could easily see roping people in. Hopefully, players that enjoyed this one went back and rediscovered the beginning of the series to see where it all started and how this new, scary world came to be.
With the release of every Zelda game, there was always tons of fanfare and hype. Well, a lot considering that most releases didn't have the benefit of having the internet prevalent enough to create the kind of buzz that Zelda games do now.
Usually, Zelda games are highly anticipated, as everyone is looking forward to seeing which direction and what changes Nintendo will make to the series in order to to it to the next level of awesomeness. After Wind Waker was announced, however, with screen shots and details showing off the next version of Link on the GameCube, Zelda fans pretty much all turned their collective shoulders and pretty much boycotted the very drastic changes. And this was all before the game even came out.
You see, the biggest problem people had was the look of the game, specifically the characters like Link. The game was designed in cell-shaded style, a unique thing at the time of the game's release and definitely a first for the series. Link was still recognizable by all his trademark characteristics, but the fact that the developers went the way of cartoonish art style instead of a more realistic style that everyone was anticipating, really irritated people to no end.
Personally, when I first saw what the game would look like, I was more excited than anyone else I knew. Sure, the thought of a realistic Zelda was intriguing, but I've always seen the series as a story, a fairy tale of sorts, and this new style fit perfectly into the vision I always had for the series.
Sure enough, after the game's release, people started to realize how great the game looked despite the cell shading style, and how well it complemented the story that it was telling, The game has only grown on people more so every day since its release, and just recently Nintendo announced that it was remaking Wind Waker in HD for the Wii U. So much for no one liking the game, right?
Anyway, tonight I played it and it was great. The story is so engaging, as the new cast of characters and settings felt refreshing and different, yet surprisingly familiar. The game still holds up graphically even by today's standards, but with the touch of HD, I simply cannot wait for the remastered version of this game to play on my Wii U later this year.
Everyone usually complains about the sailing adventures within this game, but honestly, I don't mind them at all. The sheer amount of territory to cover in the game, even if most of it is water, is astounding. But hey, to each their own, I guess.
All in all, this is a great game, and one of the best looking games of the series, if only for the unique art style. Thank goodness the Internet wasn't as big as it is today, or the amount of hate before hand might have derailed this series permanently.
Link. Hyrule Kingdom. Princess Zelda. All in 3D. and that, my friends, is what blew the doors completely off the Zelda franchise.
When Ocarina of Time came out for the Nintendo 64, it revolutionized how gamers looked at the Zelda franchise. The step into 3D realms for a popular Nintendo franchise was already taken by Mario in Mario 64, but what Ocarina did was by far above and beyond the simple leap into 3D graphics. It cemented how important Zelda was not just to Nintendo, but the gaming industry as a whole. To this day, it is still looked upon as one of, if not the best video game ever - which says a lot considering how many games there are on that list.
It's funny, too, because last night when I was playing A Link to the Past, I thought without a shadow of a doubt that it was my favorite Zelda game. Then I played Ocarina tonight, and low and behold, I had to change my opinion. Not because I think of LTTP any less now, but I just realized how awesome and amazing that Ocarina of Time was - and still is.
As I kid, I never owned my own Nintendo 64, but my cousin Jake did. Because of that, I went over to his house a lot to play games. Going over there usually meant spending the night as well, obviously meaning I got to play even more games. While he liked playing games, he wasn't nearly as in to them as I was. He liked the idea of them, liked bragging about having them and showing them off, while feeling like the cool kid for having them all. But I was clearly the gamer of group, and he more often than not watched me play games, while he did ... whatever it was he did.
This was definitely the case for Ocarina of Time. He watched me play a LOT of that game. When he first got it, I was over there every chance I got, each time getting a little further into the story. Every time we got stuck playing it, we had to figure our way through it, eventually, thanks to the Internet not exactly being what it is today. So when we finally beat the game, I remember how epic and amazing it felt, after the countless hours we dumped in to it. Immediately after beating it, however, all I wanted to do was start it all over again. Yeah, it was that kind of game. And really, it still is.
Tonight playing it brought back all those memories. Since playing it back in the day, I have bought several re-releases of this game, which is becoming common ground for great Nintendo games at this point. Tonight, despite owning it on several platforms, I played the Virtual Console version.
Aside from the extremely long opening cinematic that you cant skip and the ridiculously annoying fairy companion (Navi) that follows you around the whole game, this adventure through the kingdom of Hyrule is unforgettable. There are some games that I can play over and over again, and each time I remember certain things about it that I may have forgotten until I come back across them in the game, But with Ocarina, I remember tons of specific things within the game before I even get close to getting to them in-game. It's one of those special games that leaves a permanent imprint on your gaming memory,
The 3D graphics were groundbreaking for a game that big and robust back in the day, and the 3DS remake did an excellent job not just enhancing them, but putting them under a spotlight and showing them off to the adoring public. The game play mechanics worked like a charm, everything from the combat system to riding Epona the horse, and everything in between. Sure, the camera was a little wonky, but most games at that time had a learning curve for figuring out how to properly use the camera in the 3D environment. With so much that the game did right, the hands-down best thing about this game is the story.
The story. Wow. For all the talk recently about how BioShock Infinite has one the best video game stories ever, people need to go back and replay Ocarina of Time for a sample of a time when GREAT stories was a common thing. It's not an overly complex story or one that will make you sit there and ponder the meaning of life after it all wraps up, but it is still fantastic in what it is. It's simple, it's easy to follow, but man, does it rope you in and make you actually care about it, not just enjoy it. In its simplest and most purest form, it is a story of good vs. evil, with love and trust sprinkled in for good measure.
For the most part, this is the basic storyline for the entire Zelda franchise, but for the first time in the series, Ocarina of Time highlighted it, enhanced it and wrapped the entire game around it. The ability to have good cut-scenes in the game certainly enhanced the impact of the story, which is why it remains the absolute best Zelda game to play if you are only going to play one, ever. If you are going to start the series, then yes, start out with Link to the Past. But if you only choose to play a single Zelda game, Ocarina of Time is what you need to be playing. Hands down. No argument.
Ask me tomorrow, though. Maybe I'll change my mind once again.
With 16 full, legit Zelda games in the franchise, obviously I couldn't play them all in one week. I considered the notion of just playing them chronologically, half this week and half another week - but who would want another week of Zelda after this epic one? If I can't fully portray how amazing this series is in a week to all the non-believers, skeptics and rookies, then I'm not doing my job as a writer and a gamer.
So instead, I have decided to play what I see as the most important and influential games of the entire series, while also trying to span the console generations. Because of that, I decided to skip over Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link (despite it being an important puzzle piece in the jigsaw puzzle that is the Zelda franchise. Instead, I jumped right on in to my personal favorite Zelda game (by a close, close margin) and still probably top-five games of mine of all time.
Yes, I played the The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
This was probably the first game I ever played that I compulsively obsessed over. Thinking about when I wasn't playing it, playing it every chance I got, and beating it over and over again, just for the sake of enjoying every second of it as much as possible. Despite how much I loved video games before A Link to the Past came out, this game cemented and reaffirmed everything I felt. This game also challenged me to look at games differently, not just as entertainment vices, but as a creative art form. I saw the game for the art from behind the curtain, if you will, imagining what the process of creating something so awesome was like.
You see, this game inspired me to create my own Zelda game. Not in the animation/computer coding type of way, but instead from the artists and writers perspective of how to make a game. I had a binder full - and I mean FULL - of sketches, rough drafts and final drafts of everything that you would find in the game, like all the characters, weapons, items, enemies, dungeons and even maps. I had all the details hammered out and decided, as if I was going to walk into Shigeru Miyamoto's office and present him with the pitch for the game. I didn't have the full script written out or anything, but the basic plot was established.
Granted, everything I came up with was heavily influenced by Link to the Past, so most of the ideas I had came straight from that game, just adjusted and modified to make them feel like my own. The only thing I don't remember coming up with was a title for my "game," which clearly was the only thing holding it back from being pushed into development.
Anyway, as you can see, I love this game, And playing it again tonight reminded me that I still love this game. I try to play through it at least once a year, or whenever I feel froggy enough to jump in.
Everything from the art style to the music is so perfectly well-done, it's maddening that more guys didn't try to just copy this style. Everything from the movements of Link to the new items and weapons you use finally give the player a sense of who this Link character is and what he is capable of as a character. The writing is strong and charming and the game itself, while sometimes quite challenging, is made for the player to enjoy at their own pace and traverse the kingdom as they see fit, exploring all there is to see in Hyrule.
Oh, and did I mention the Master Sword? Yeah...
The coolest part of the game for me, however, is that once you think you have the game figured out, it throws you a curve ball in the form of the Light World/Dark World plot twist. You see, the entire map that you get to know all too well is actually just half of what you think. The whole time up until the big reveal you are in the Light World, but then, suddenly, you are forced to revisit the same-yet-totally-different Dark World.
Crap ... SPOILER ALERT!
I love this game. Everything about it. If I had to play just one game the rest of my life, this would easily be at the top of my list. For everyone who has never touched a Zelda game, I suggest starting with this one. And if you think you don't like Zelda games, go back and give this one a chance. Maybe you will "get it" this time.
Just hurry up, because the sequel for the 3DS is coming out sometime this year. And no, it's not my game idea ... at least, I don't think it is. I better call my lawyer, just in case.
Looking at the calendar, it appears as if this is the last full week (Monday-Sunday) left in April, and because I have yet to have a "Week Of..." this month, the stars are perfectly aligned for me to finally announce what game franchise I am going to play for a week straight.
In case you didn't pick up on the hints from the title of this blog posting or the box art over to the left here, I am going to play The Legend of Zelda franchise for seven straight days. Oh, and I know I don't have a cool banner showcasing "My Week of Zelda" up yet - I will try to have it up for tomorrow's post. Just try to use your imagination for the time being.
So ... The Legend of Zelda. To be honest, I had a completely different franchise already picked out and ready to go for this week, until the Twitter Gods spoke to me loud and clear, and pointed me into the direction of one of the most popular, well-received and most recognizable game franchises of all time. Yet despite how unimaginably popular the Zelda franchise is, I discovered that many people who are readers of this very blog, followers on twitter and even some Podcasters either have played a little bit of the series and didn't like it, haven't played the series since the originals and have no interest in going back to it, and yes, even a handful of gamers out there that have never played a single Zelda game, EVER.
After finding out all this today, completely randomly mind you, I knew that I just HAD to make this week my week of Zelda. Not for my sake to rediscover the franchise or drum up some awesome memories, but instead for a community service, to explore what the series means to the community, good or bad. I wan't to find out why people may have bailed on this series or never bothered to even explore it, what holds them back from enjoying it and why it hasn't grabbed the attention of certain gamers. Hopefully, however, I'll be able to drudge up the goodness and joy in the series as well, and discover how much this series has meant to people over the years as well.
Basically I want to find my way out of the dark room before I bother to look for the light switch.
Tonight, I started with where the legend all began, the original The Legend of Zelda game on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Personally, for me, this wasn't my first Zelda game that I remember playing, but it was for many people, obviously because it was the first. Of course, back in 1986, no one could have ever predicted that this one little game would spawn the franchise it has become.
It was ground breaking for several reasons, some of which weren't immediately known at the time. It was the first game to allow for game saves on the cartridge, as opposed to using the more traditional of the times password system for "saves." Also, it was the start of open-world gaming, which most gamers don't ever give it the credit for being.
You play the game in a top-down style adventure game, traversing around the world, exploring and defeating dungeons, solving puzzles and basically living out an epic quest to find the sacred treasure, defeat the ultimate boss, save the princess and restore peace to the kingdom. The fundamental aspects of the game are well in place and easy to see, but the ability to fully immerse yourself as a gamer into this brand new universe is one that the Zelda franchise has done better than almost any game franchise out there.
Playing it again tonight, however, some things were quite clear. If you have never played a Zelda game before, this would not be the game to start out with, because it doesn't have that it factor that will make people finally get why this franchise is so well liked. Yes, it's serviceable for what it is and plays an important part of the timeline for the series (more on that throughout the week), but it's still an old game. Today, it appeals to those who played it back in the day and fell in love with the adventure. It's a nostalgic piece of gaming history, but not one that would be easy to sit down and just play through like a platformer (Mario, Mega Man, etc.) would be to a newcomer.
Thankfully, The Legend of Zelda holds its place on the Mount Rushmore of games not because of how well it has aged, but for the bar that it set for every other action/adventure game that has come after it, as well as being the game that started it all. Oh, and it had a gold colored NES cartridge, and even to this day, just holding it makes you feel like you are holding something special.
I can't wait to continue this series. This is going to be a strong week for all the Nintendo fans out there, and hopefully enlightening for all those who never jumped on the Nintendo bandwagon.
Well, I have officially jumped down the rabbit hole. Yesterday, I just sampled the goods, by buying a new laptop, signing up for Steam and just looking into the possibility of starting my PC gaming career. Today, however, was a completely different story.
First, I went out and bought a mouse, because seriously, track pads are the worst thing ever. I also bought a wired Xbox controller, so I can just plug it into the laptop and play games, Without a controller, there is no way I could play PC games. I tried the demo for Bastion last night just to see what gaming with a keyboard was like, and well, I hated it. I didn't, however, hate how beautiful Bastion is, and I fully intend on buying that again through Steam.
Speaking of buying games I already own...
Did you know that Portal and Portal 2 were on sale this weekend on Steam? You probably did if you went on to Steam at all this weekend, seeing as how it's plastered all over the home page. Yeah, well, guess what I grabbed on impulse, just because the deal was so good? This guy...
Anyway, the Portal bundle wasn't the first games I actually bought, however. The first game that officially started the madness that is buying Steam games was a little game I heard talked about on a Podcast last week, so when I saw it while scrolling through the seemingly endless list of games, I had to grab it. The game is DLC Quest, and the price tag of $2.99 didn't hurt either.
If I enjoy playing all PC games as much as I did DLC Quest tonight, then I might have a problem developing very quickly. I feel my insomnia yelling at me already.
This game was amazingly fun, simple and more importantly, creative, funny, witty and smart. It is a simple platformer with very basic graphics, but the premise behind the game is selling point. It is a game that is essentially mocking the DLC phenomena running rampant in the video game industry. You start out controlling your character, but you can only run backwards and forwards - no jumping, no animation, no movements at all, and even no sound. You just run and collect coins, until you meet a shop keep who offers to sell you DLC packs, like the Movement DLC pack that allows you to jump, or the Audio DLC pack that actually brings sound to the game. It's a game that makes you think about how much game developers are leaving out, taking out or locking out of video games that they sell at full price, then charge you more for additional content to enhance your gaming experience.
And no, there is no actual DLC purchasing in this game, as everything you buy is just upgrades in-game that you use your coins you collect through the game to as currency, Don't have enough coins to buy the necessary DLC pack to allow you to continue the game? Go find some more coins!
The entire game is just one running gag and joke after another. From the signs you run past that tell you not to bother going that way because all the story line specific action is happening in the other direction, to the NPC characters who try to give you fetch quests that you graciously decline because you don't know them at all and they should be completing their own quests - it's all brilliantly done. Because the game plays off of preconceived notions of what and how we think games should play out, they tend to go the complete opposite direction with it all.
Despite the industries best efforts to be as creative and original as possible, most games of specific genres usually follow a very tried and true pattern of design to get the most from the consumer while giving the most to the player. DLC Quest, however, rejects the mold from the get-go and instead turns the camera around on the development and publishing studios, almost challenging them to step outside the box a little more often.
When they name a certain area of the game as a reminder to the level designer to remember to come up with a name for it, you know exactly what kind of game you're getting - one that isn't afraid to not only break through the fourth wall, but essentially just pretend like it doesn't even exist.
Oh, and by buying DLC Quest, I also got the new Live Freemium Or Die adventure game as well. I actually beat both games, as they are pretty short, but worth every penny.
And seeing those achievements pop up as I was playing? Yeah, I'm completely sold on this whole PC gaming thing. Thanks, internet, for finally pushing me hard enough to jump in head first. I am probably going to enjoy this far, far too much, but hey, is it really a bad thing if it means getting to enjoy pure gems like this game tonight? I think not.
XBLA = The Noyse
PSN = the_noyse
NNID = The Noyse
3DS F.C. = 3007-8109-2329
STEAM = TheNoyse
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Games played for project : 365